Could a high powered telescope in space (such as the Hubble Telescope) be capable of peering through a large worm hole with enough clarity to detect that a planet is somewhere on the other side?

If so, can they use the standard techniques that scientists use today to determine if this planet may be habitable? How would the wormhole limit their ability to do this?

Note: I'm writing a story where a civilization capitalizes on a wormhole to begin its space colonization; but first I want to be sure this scenario is credible in some way.

Second Note: While I don't know much about Wormholes, I do know that this wormhole would have to be Traversable, so it'd probably be a Einstein–Rosen bridge.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Depends on the wormhole theory you want to use. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 21, 2016 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ According to the wiki page, an ER bridge is unstable when it connects two parts within the same universe, collapsing before light can travel through the wormhole. Technically, your civilization is engaging in inter-universal, not just interstellar, travel. $\endgroup$ Nov 21, 2016 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ Science tag = no traversable wormhole, sorry to disappoint you. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Nov 22, 2016 at 1:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @user6760 It's not hard-science, and there are scientific models of traversable wormholes. Probably these won't work, for sure not any time soon, but it's enough for soft science. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Nov 22, 2016 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


It would mainly depend on five things:

  • The aperture size and other characteristics of the entry claudication of the wormhole.
  • The characteristics of the gnaster and time-space environment inside of the wormhole.
  • The aperture size and other characteristics of the exit claudication of the wormhole.
  • The wormhole being bi-directional in nature, and not possessing an internal "flow characteristic" of sufficient strength to prevent the passage of light.
  • The power of the telescope and post-processing capabilities available to the peeking civilization. Close proximity to the wormhole may be beneficial.

The claudication boundaries of the apertures (the area of division between where the effects and laws of normal-space preside and the laws and effects of the wormhole-space preside, thus defining the aperture or opening of the wormhole on either side) may have an effect on light passing through - lensing, relativity distortion and other possible space-like and time-like effects may alter the characteristics of light passing through.

Furthermore, the effects of the gnaster (the region of stressed and stretched space-time that constitutes the funnel/intestine or navigable cavity "inside" the wormhole between the two claudications) may also have unusual space-like and time-like effects upon light (or matter) passing through.

There is also the issue of aperture duration, in other words, is the wormhole "always open", "intermittently open", "always closed" or some other configuration such as "only open when stressed in just the right way"?

In conclusion...

In order for "peeking" to occur the following would need to be true:

  • A wormhole that is either "always open", or has a characteristic predictability as to when it is "open",
  • A wormhole with claudications which either: does not distort light passing through, or distorts light in a predictable fashion that can be compensated for,
  • A wormhole with gnaster characteristics such that light is allowed to reach both claudication boundaries from either end, and should there be any distortion, said distortion needs to again be predictable such that it can be compensated for,
  • A wormhole which lacks a flow characteristic (internal directional bias) or has a tidal flow characteristic allowing bi-directional travel of light, or has an opportune flow characteristic such that the output is towards the peeking civilization.
  • A wormhole which is sufficiently close to other objects and oriented in a direction (if the wormhole is not omni-directional in nature) that allows observation of nearby celestial objects.

I should also give passing mention to the possibility that a given wormhole is expressed multiply in normal space - in other words, is not "linear" in nature, but rather has more than two claudications. Not all wormholes will necessarily have only two openings, which may have odd effects upon what is "perceivable" through one of the apertures.

  • $\begingroup$ I've never seen "claudication" used to refer to wormholes, and I've never seen the phrase "gnaster characteristics" anywhere. Can you link some references? $\endgroup$ Nov 22, 2016 at 0:49
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    $\begingroup$ Yea, neither of those words appear on the wikipedia page for wormholes. And when you google "wormhole gnaster claudication" you get some weird results $\endgroup$
    – Frikster
    Nov 22, 2016 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ The usual site I reference these two words from is currently in transition between formats. I'll have to add references later. Claudication is an old medical term for constriction; here it is being used to refer to the constriction that forms between a normal space and the adjacent co-terminal stressed space. I believe gnaster is a word unique to the reference in question - however, while it normally applies to something more like a tesseract-like structure being used to offset mass, it also applies handily and not inaccurately to a wormhole's transit structure. $\endgroup$
    – nijineko
    Nov 28, 2016 at 0:24

Where space-time is very much not "flat" - where it's noticeably non-Euclidean - it bends light, and there is very strong gravity.

If a human can pass through the wormhole in a straight line without being crushed or torn apart by the difference in the strength of gravity between her head and her toes, then two parallel light rays close together moving along the same path as the astronaut should still be nearly parallel when they come out.

So, yes, a telescope might be able to glimpse in the centre of the wormhole a narrow window into the world beyond with relatively little distortion.

But that won't make it easy to see planets on other side. The telescope won't get an undistorted 360 degree view of the universe on the other side unless it's moving around the wormhole, or (even better) you drop the telescope through the wormhole and have it broadcast a video from the other side. Which frankly I would want to do anyway before I sent a person through, with instruments to measure the tidal force and radiation levels.


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